At last month’s Dating Boot Camp event, NYC-based matchmaker Matt Titus talked about the rules of attraction. When a woman makes herself too available to a guy, he warned, it’s “game over.” I couldn’t help thinking of my own experience with that age-old rule of playing hard to get – and wondering if it still applies today.
Years ago, during my complicated relationship with California-based beau Mark (a.k.a Sparky), I had a feeling that the built-in tension of our situation had a lot to do with his ardent pursuit of me.
Several months into our long-distance romance, I called him on it. Sparky insisted his only motivation was love. When I asked him a second time why he was so persistent, he gave me a different answer.
“Sometimes, it’s the quest of knowing what you can’t have that makes you so persistent,” he said.
Sparky’s observation made sense. After all, having grown up watching both soap operas and two parents whose enduring love had been preceded by a fiery courtship, I couldn’t help being enticed by the drama too. But is drama a prerequisite for passion? And does playing hard to get have to be a part of it?
Maybe not, says my good friend Heidi. Her new boyfriend recently told her that if they’re still together in a year, they should get married.
“This,” she told me, “is how our relationships should be... easy. I know the whole thing about ‘if it's not worth fighting for, it's not worth having,’ but I like this way much, much better.”
I think it’s easier to do without the drama – self-made or otherwise – when it feels like a relationship is progressing naturally over time and, of course, when you’re both on the same page about the direction in which it’s heading.
As for playing it cool, I’ve come to think of it more in terms of taking things slowly. Because when you’re making room for romance in your life, and balancing that with staying true to yourself, why rush it?